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Stormwatch: Island weathering the blizzard

| Snowed in. Ice crystals forming on a Silver Beach window.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Snowed in. Ice cyrstals forming on a Silver Beach kitchen window.

With snow falling at a rate of four inches an hour, road crews for the Shelter Island Highway Department fought a fast-striking and cagey opponent last night.

Superintendent Jay Card Jr. — “I’m living on coffee” — said it wasn’t just the speed of the snowfall, but high winds that made the battle a particularly tough one.

“Snow was drifting over as fast as we could move it, making it difficult to keep up,” Mr. Card said.

With practically no power outages reported, the Island was also blessed by no major incidents over night, reported Shelter Island Police Department Chief Jim Read, who praised the highway crews for their dedicated work keeping major roads open.

Mr. Card said there had been one smoke alarm investigation by the Fire Department and one Shelter Island Emergency Medical Services call.

His advice to Islanders today  was simple and direct: Stay home.

The roads have to be be kept clear for Highway Department vehicles and also for commercial plows, which work to clear Island businesses first and then some residences.

And for the private contractors, Mr. Card also had some advice: Please remove snow from the streets after you’ve finished plowing a parking lot or driveway.

There might be a cessation of snow around11:30 a.m., according to forecasts Mr. Card was monitoring, and then light snow this afternoon.

The strategy was to hit the streets with the plows one more time, and when the snow stopped to sand the thoroughfares, making them passable for residents.

How much snow has fallen? Mr. Card couldn’t give a number, but said, “A lot. When I was driving past the school the snow was coming over my hood.”

He had nothing but praise for the teams that battled the blizzard last night. “You can’t overestimate the job they did under those conditions,” he said.